Troodon

The Troodon is a very interesting dinosaur whose name comes from the Greek and means tooth that hurts. There is only one species lived in North America during the Campaniano about 70 million years ago. It was one of the first dinosaurs to be discovered in North America in 1855. The Troodon had a relatively long neck and a jaw with very sharp and small teeth, its arms had 3 fingers with powerful claws and legs that made them excellent runners. It could measure approximately 2 meters high, one meter long and up to 50 kilos in weight. Its limbs were thin and long, so it was thought to be light and could move very quickly, a special feature being that its upper limbs could have been bent like those of a bird.

One of the most interesting things was its curved claws, more or less like a sickle. He had very large eyes and probably had excellent night vision, and his eyes were almost in front of his head so it is believed that he had binocular vision, having a very good depth perception, his skull is partly similar to that of ostriches and is believed to have had feathers.

In 1856 Joseph Leidy found a single tooth that was discovered in Montana and presented it as a new genre. However, the Troodon was classified more as a large lizard than a real dinosaur, so nobody paid much attention to it for about 50 years, until in 1901 another paleontologist examined the tooth and thought it was a megalosaurus. 20 years later, Charles W. Gilmore and decided that the Troodon was in fact a Pachycephalosaur that is related to the Stegosaurs. All this changed in 1945 when Charles M. Sternberg demonstrated that the Troodon was a Theropod.

As very few remains have been found and especially because it is not yet 100% certain which genus it belongs to, it is believed that its main diet was small mammals and reptiles. This is thought to be because it was the only dinosaur capable of hunting them because they were extremely light and fast which allowed them to reach and hunt them. To hunt such small and fast animals he used his excellent eyesight, these small reptiles were probably not seen by other larger dinosaurs, but the Troodon’s excellent vision helped him to identify and hunt them quickly, and it is also believed that he may have stolen eggs or eat carrion, which makes sense because of his type of teeth. Although some think they may also have been used to eat plants, although this theory is not so accepted.

Without a doubt, the characteristic that makes the Troodon special and which, by the way, gives it its name, are its teeth, which are totally different from those of other theropods. His teeth protruded and had an apical orientation. His teeth have caused much debate, mainly because of the type of diet he ate, that theory has gone through all kinds of food, from eggs to plants. Another characteristic that undoubtedly separates it from all other dinosaurs is that it is considered one of the dinosaurs that is not avian and that is extremely intelligent.

He had a very large brain, to such a degree that they found marks of it in the fossilized bones, this meant that his brain was highly developed and therefore he was smarter than other dinosaurs. Add to this the fact that the occipital part is the back of the brain, which is the part that takes care of the memory and the vision was very developed. It is also speculated that he may have had a more complex system of communication than many other dinosaurs with the same dinosaurs of his species.

The Troodon is a dinosaur that is widely documented and portrayed in film and television, although not always in a way that is very faithful to its real characteristics. You can find it in Prehistoric Park, you can also see it in Dinosaur Planet and Animal Armageddon. He also makes an appearance in Robert J. Sawyer’s novel End of an Eraptor as a vehicle of a Martian and in the novel Star Trek first Frontier. You can also see it on Dinosaur Train and in the film In Search of the Enchanted Valley. In these films the Troodon is usually presented as a wise or extremely intelligent dinosaur.